Critical Shoreland Habitat Program - Phase V

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2019 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Outdoor Heritage Fund
MN Land Trust
Recipient Type
Non-Profit Business/Entity
In Progress
Start Date
July 2018
Activity Type
Land Acquisition
Counties Affected
St. Louis
St. Louis
Project Overview

Phase 5 of the Minnesota Land Trust's Critical Shoreland Habitat Program will protect approximately 0.6 miles of critical shoreland and 225 acres of associated high-quality habitat in Minnesota’s Northeast region by securing permanent conservation easements. This phase will build off major successes of previous phases which have protected approximately 2,500 acres and 75,500 feet of shoreland, leveraging $5.4M in landowner donation in the process. Easements will be secured in strategic locations along priority lakes and rivers, creating larger protected habitat complexes benefitting our state's fish, game and wildlife species that depend on these aquatic habitats.

About the Issue

The natural shoreland around northeast Minnesota’s celebrated lakes and rivers comprises one of the most biologically important systems in the state for fish, game and wildlife. It is also one of its most threatened. In order to preserve this important component of Minnesota’s natural heritage, the Minnesota Land Trust proposes to implement Phase 5 of its Critical Shoreland Habitat Protection Program to protect through conservation easement important lakeshore and stream-side habitat. This proposed work will build on the success demonstrated in Phases 1-3 of this program and help fulfill the goals of the DNR’s Aquatic Management Area program, the State Wildlife Action Plan, and many other state priorities. In this fifth phase of the program, the Minnesota Land Trust will strategically concentrate its activities on important aquatic resources and associated forest habitat within northeast Minnesota, including DNR-designated high priority trout streams along the North Shore, sensitive shoreland along the deep-water border lakes and other high-quality aquatic habitats in the region. The Land Trust will protect 0.6 miles and 225 acres of threatened shoreland habitat by acquiring permanent conservation easements from willing landowners. The program will continue to target projects that help complete gaps in existing protected land, contain the highest-quality habitat, and provide the greatest leverage to the state. The Land Trust will seek donated easements in these areas whenever possible but also may purchase easements that help complete key complexes as necessary. The development and disturbance of the state’s remaining sensitive shoreland habitat continues to be a threat identified in many of the State’s resource protection plans. Science conducted by the DNR and others indicate that the shoreland zone is one of the most biologically diverse and important habitat types for a variety of wildlife species. It is also one of Minnesota’s most threatened resources due to the intensity of shoreland development and non-compatible management. Fortunately, there is an opportunity to address this threat. Outreach conducted under Phases 1 -3 of this program has generated significant landowner interest that will be met through Phases 4 (beginning in FY2018) and 5 (FY2019). Conservation easements secured under this program will be perpetual and drafted to further prevent the fragmentation and destruction of existing habitat. These easements will ensure that the sensitive shoreland habitat will remain ecologically viable and productive for fish, game and wildlife by prohibiting land uses that negatively impact the important habitat values and requiring habitat management plans to maximize the benefits of shoreland and associated forested uplands. Outcomes from this project include: 1) healthy populations of trout and other fish species, waterfowl, and other species in greatest conservation need; 2) maintaining water quality of aquatic resources; 3) increased participation of private landowners in habitat projects; and 4) enhancement of prior state and local investments made in shoreland and forest conservation in the region. The Land Trust will strategically target complexes of protect lands in which these outcomes are maximized.

Legal Citation / Subdivision
ML 2018, Ch. 208, Art. 1, Sec. 2, subd 3(e )
Appropriation Language

$1,094,000 the second year is to the commissioner
of natural resources for an agreement with
Minnesota Land Trust to acquire permanent
conservation easements along rivers and lakes in
the northern forest region. Of this amount, up to
$120,000 is for establishing a monitoring and
enforcement fund as approved in the accomplishment
plan and subject to Minnesota Statutes, section
97A.056, subdivision 17. A list of proposed
permanent conservation easements must be provided
as part of the required accomplishment plan.

2019 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Other Funds Leveraged
Direct expenses
Administration costs
Number of full time equivalents funded
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Forestlands are protected from development and fragmentation - This program will permanently protect 1,100 acres of strategic northern forest region habitats and approximately 3 miles of undeveloped shoreline. Measure: Acres protected..

Source of Additional Funds

Private landowner donation of easement value

Project Manager
First Name
Last Name
Organization Name
Minnesota Land Trust
Street Address
2356 University Avenue W Suite 240
St. Paul
Zip Code
(651) 917-6292
Administered By
Administered by

500 Lafayette Road
St. Paul, MN 55155

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